Category Archives: writing

Powerful Committees Aphorism

Someone asked me why a particular committee had not done a task that impeded the progress of a mutual friend.

I said:

“Because powerful committees grow thick skins.”

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Orgs Stuff (theory, science, studies), pithy expressions, writing

Data Collection Aphorism

An anthropology colleague asked me to do a brief explanation of network analysis and theory for a field research class (Thanks Ned Searles!).

One part of teaching I love is when the process of vocalizing ideas leads me to say something I never heard but sounds good.

Today, in discussing the options for types of data, and thinking about survey versus participant observation, I said:

“Data that is easy to collect is not always the data most worth collecting.”

I was thinking about how much of the research grind, especially in an ever bigger and more status-conscious world of publishing we live in, is driven not by good questions, but by available data.

Leave a comment

Filed under pithy expressions, Research, social theory, sociology, words

Bibliographic Software- what do you use?

I did this quick review for my Academic Ladder group.
I USED to use Endnote.  Got too cumbersome and tricky.  I stopped more than five years ago, so I can’t even recall details.

My U switched to refworks.  This was very nice at first.  It is an online database.  So, you have an account.  With most search databases and our catalog, it was one click importing.  It supports “descriptors” you edit, like tags.  Like, all known biblio outputs for every style.  Your database lives in the cloud, so you can be at ANY COMPUTER with internet and get to your library.  You can have folders, lists and stuff.  It ALSO has a plug-in for word that allows you to add citations as you write.  So you write, you think “oh, smith 1987 here.”  You then search in word your library, find smith,and stick it in.  It adds some code to your paper. At the end you push a button and all code becomes correct citation and a bibliography is made.

Issues.  1) My library has gotten so big, it is a bit sluggish at times.  2) It does not capture web-based metadata as nicely as Zotero.  3) The word plug in was buggy for awhile, like 2 years, which irked me.

I am romantically a sucker for open-source stuff.  I started using Zotero ALSO.  Very similar to refworks except it is free, designed by academics for academics.  Your library lives in a cloud.  You can sync it to a local program, zotero standalone, for when you are NOT on the web (I think refworks can too).

Pluses for zotero: it is VERY GOOD at getting metadata.  So, say I need a book that is not in my refworks library.  Rather than got to catalog, search, export, etc, I go to amazon, or catalog, and in firefox, there is an add-on such that with one click Zotero grabs the citation.  Also, it can make citations of webpages, blogposts and so on.  Plus in firefox, you can open a window and edit the citation or ADD NOTES easily.
2) It seems to support networks or communities of schoalrs more readily to share libraries.  I have not done this a lot, but could imagine so.

Me today: hybrid refworks and zotero user.  If I were starting over, I’d be all Zotero.  I haven’t switched all the way as it looks like a lot of work and so far my patchwork approach works.

Leave a comment

Filed under Information and Communication Technology, life, writing

SJ Gould Quote and Org Theory

Found this gem buried in Alan Meyer’s (and Tsui and Hinnings) essay on Configurational Analysis….

 

The history of life contains “long periods of boredom and short
periods of terror.”
Stephen Jay Gould, The Panda’s Thumb

I realize now this essay for me was a key link from the kind of deterministic quality of pop ecology stuff and the re-emergence of institutional theory point to where I mean to be myself: moving beyond a kind of narrow fit to envronment of contingency theory to one that sees a multivariate and dynamic relationship betwenn an organization,, multiple fields, and complex environments.

 

Meyer, Tsui, and Hinnigns citation:

Configurational Approaches to Organizational Analysis
Author(s): Alan D. Meyer, Anne S. Tsui, C. R. Hinings
Source:
The Academy of Management Journal,
Vol. 36, No. 6 (Dec., 1993), pp. 1175-1195

Leave a comment

Filed under Great Quotations, organization theory, writing

New Words (I am NOT on spring break)

See, I am actually working all week.

Two new words…

I am an inveterate neologist…

Here are two…

Not sure if I invented this one or am recycling.

administrivia– trivial tasks associated with coordinating or administrating work; also, can be obscure regulations or rules of administrative bureaucracies.

The administrivia soaked up an hour of time.

procrastiduction/procrastivity/procastiduce: When you avoid doing the most important work (writing) by doing other work (emails to students, grading, upgrading CV).

Yes, well, I did not finish my book. But I wasn’t surfing facebook, I was procrastiducing.

Related articles

2 Comments

Filed under words, writing

Shades of Grey meaning subtlety not sex

I can’t say “shades of grey” anymore thanks to that annoying book.  I’m looking at you EL James.

Can we sue her for changing the language and the connotations of an idiom?

3 Comments

Filed under humor, writing

Plunging Rules (Life Observation Series)

Being a minor or XX chromosome-d seems to impede developing the life skill of plunging.

A low flush toilet (Gerber Toilets, I’m looking at you), that requires five flushes for every #2 is a pile of shit.

Leave a comment

Filed under humor, life, writing

Use Google Scholar to do Cited Reference Search within Topics

Ok, so I was hunting for a journal target for a working paper.

I needed to find possible outlets beyond obvious A-levels.

Thought I would take a key reference and see who had cited it and then hunt THAT set of cites for possible journal outlets.

Web of Knowledge has some awesome cited reference search tools, but ONLY for articles.

So, back to google scholar.  Found the reference, a chapter from 2001 in Social Capital: Theory and Research (that’s a sexy title).

Clicked on the “cited 568” link.

Now, I have a list of those 568.  I don’t want social capital and health, for example, so next I nee to search WITHIN these for results.

First, check the “search within citations” check box at the top of page.

Then click down arrow in search box.

Next, you get all your choices.

Make sure you use OR in caps for multiple selections.  Also, you can use truncated terms like “manang*”.

Voila!  From 568 to 46.

Success.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Research, writing

Get on the Poooooooooooooom Train!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Organizing Literature for Writing Reviews and Theory

I feel like I need one stop shopping for my institutional theory, fields, emergence, and logics chapter.

How do other people do this?

Traditionally, I suppose I would have taken reading notes or annotations on each item.  Then a draft would be written using quotations from those sources.

Now I have notes and annotations scattered across many sources.  There are

  • Reading notes by item
  • Synthetic notes where I assemble quotes and my thoughts from multiple sources around a common theme.
  • Digital annotations and underlining in pdfs of articles and books.
  • Hard copy annotations in books (and maybe a few articles that are older)
  • Lists of possible resources

I am feeling stymied by how best to proceed.  As this is a topic I will come back to, I am interested not just in finishing this draft, but also in having a tool or resource.  I can keep adding to for future writing.  A secondary benefit is using it for teaching or for collaborating.

Options:

  1. Just write, no resource.  Here I would continue to edit the draft as is and add literature as I need to based on the need in the draft and relying on memory or searching the PC for items.  I could also go through known good sources systematically and leave a few quotes around paper as needed.

Pros: Seems most direct.  No worries about other tools.

Cons: each search may lead me down rabbit holes.  Relying on memory or other ways to access lit may bias me in a direction.  Has been aggravating in the past.

2. Use Excel.  I would make a spreadsheet with all the resources.  They are ranked by essentiality.  I could add some rough summaries of some resources I have.  I can then add fields as necessary.  One issue is what to do with quotes.  If I put them in a field, or in new columns, each record could get really LONG (down the screen) or WIDE (across).  A variation is to add a hyperlink to a file of good quotes from each one.

Pros: Easy to add and manipulate records.

Cons:  Not easy to get material from spreadsheet into a paper.  If the spreadsheet is very big, cumbersome to find things.  If I use hyperlinks, I still have to hunt in that file for quotes.

3. Use Word.  Like Excel.  I would use Word and have it as a table.  Easier to edit text in Word.  Still not sure what to do with quotations.  If I try to go “wide” as in extra columns for quotations, then it can get very wide quickly.  Like Excel, not sure how to organize quotations anyway.

Pros: Better word editing than excel.

Cons: Table may have upper limit of rows and columns

4. Use Nvivo.  Nvivo can code in PDFs AND in word documents.  So, if one starts from scratch, one can build many possible searchable nodes into a library of documents.  This is very good for supporting multiple projects with same or similar literature.  It also has analytical features, like searching for words and using that as the basis for coding.  It can output what is collected.  It can also support theory building through queries.

Pros: Building multi-use, multi-project tool.  Searching PDFs AND documents.  Search and query functions for theory building. With reports, can extract the references with their quotes.

Cons: can not edit tables/databases in Nvivo.  Time intensive right now.

5. Use a wiki-like tool such as google sites.  I have already done this some in compiling some synthetic notes about Institutional theory or operating definitions for this project.

Pros: With hyperlinks, somewhat easier to get from one topic to another.

Cons: Would have to cut and paste all content.  No obvious way to include pdfs.

Leave a comment

Filed under Research, writing